Fireplaces, Gluhwein and Sweet Savings: Rogue Valley Tasting Rooms Bring the Holiday Cheer

By Jen Anderson

Looking for a special way to ring in the season? 

Hummingbird Estate in nearby Central Point is making batches of the intensely aromatic German spiced wine known as gluhwein — hot mulled wine with cinnamon sticks, oranges, whole cloves and their Grenache, a fruit-forward varietal. Visitors can enjoy a warm mug or take bottles of Grenache home for a DIY beverage, with a thoughtful recipe card included. 

It’s just one of the many things Rogue Valley Wine Country’s boutique, family-owned tasting rooms are doing to lift visitors’ spirits during The Giving Season this year. The campaign provides support for Rogue Food Unites, a collaboration working to serve daily meals and provide holiday meals to those still in transitional housing after the recent wildfires. (You can support the effort through a cash donation or purchase of wine, with a 10% discount on one to five bottles and 20% discount on six or more bottles through Dec. 31, 2020. Participating wineries include DANCIN Vineyards, Irvine & Roberts Vineyards, Plaisance Ranch, Quady North, Red Hill Cellars and Troon Vineyard.)

Hummingbird is also one of several Rogue Valley wineries helping a family rebuild their home after the recent wildfire through a partnership with local nonprofit Community Works. They’ll be helping to replace what the family lost in clothing, bikes, school laptops and other supplies needed for long-term recovery. Owner Kristina Alvarez encourages anyone who’d like to adopt a family or help with relief efforts to contact Adelaide at [email protected].

One mile south, neighbor Rellik Winery is also helping local families during the holiday through the U.S. Marines’ Toys for Tots program. Visitors are encouraged to donate a toy for needy children through Dec. 20. At the tasting room’s outdoor heated tent, sip a glass of Pinot while listening to a lineup of local musicians on tap to perform each weekend through Dec. 27. 

Every winter, Cliff Creek Cellars in Gold Hill participates in its own giving season campaign — a time when owner Ruth Garvin collects food and toiletries at the tasting room for Rogue Food Unites. During the week of Christmas and New Year’s, visitors to the tasting room are invited to play their annual bingo-style “Wine-o” game to win prizes and enjoy the holiday spirit. The game will be held on the heated outdoor patio; bring a blanket and your bestie. Pick up a gift basket while you’re there or order online with $10 shipping on a case of wine and free delivery within the Rogue Valley. 

Kriselle Cellars

How about cozying up by the fire with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon on the heated outdoor patio at Kriselle Cellars? Director of operations Nora Lancaster has transformed her small, rustic winery in White City, 13 miles north of Medford, into a winter wonderland resembling a grand lodge with sparkling lights and festive decor. She’ll offer some of her new releases, and you can pick up a gift box or gift card to-go for yourself or a lucky friend.  

Even if you can’t make it to the Rogue Valley this season, it’s worth shopping online for discounts. For instance, Weisinger Family Winery is holding its annual winter warehouse sale Dec. 11-12, 2020, to thank customers for their support over the past two decades. This year it will be completely online, with wines 15% to 50% off. Flat-rate shipping ($15 for six bottles or more) is available during the sale. 

Schultz Wines in Grants Pass is thanking customers with special discounts online and at the tasting room through Dec. 14, 2020 — email owner Debbie Schultz for a coupon code at [email protected]

If you go:

However you decide to support Rogue Valley winemakers, make sure to call ahead or check here for the latest hours and statewide guidelines, which allow for outdoor-only tastings with a maximum of six people per table. Visitors are strongly urged to make a reservation in advance. Bring your face covering, required for all indoor and outdoor spaces, and prepare to follow social-distancing protocols. Most importantly, keep in mind the spirit of giving and show your gratitude for a great experience. 

Pictured at top: Hummingbird Estate